Category: Resources

Schedule your blog

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Writing a blog on a regular basis can be difficult. You have to think of something to write about constantly, and every so often you get blogger’s block.

I recently read a wonderful post by Graham Jones that is really going to make my blogging life much easier (if I make myself take his advice, that is).

Basically, Graham likens blogging to being the publisher/editor of a major publication like a newspaper or magazine. You have certain columns that are written on a regular basis. You know what I’m talking about. Like “Dear Abby,” letter to the editor, horoscopes, etc.

To translate this for your blog, you come up with the type of story you want to write each day for a week, month, 2 months, or whatever timeframe you like. I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers have “Wordless Wednesdays” where they post only a picture for that day. Or Thursday 13. Perhaps you’ll save Fridays to announce your projects for the week. You get the idea.

What makes this appealing to me is that I won’t have to come up with a topic all the time. It’ll be mapped out for me in advance, even if I don’t have the actual post written. I’ll just know that today is Copywriting Tip day, or that tomorrow is New Poll day.

Do you have a blogging schedule? How does it work for you? Or do you write by the seat of your pants, like I tend to do? What’s your preference if you’ve tried both methods?

Yoga for your eyes?

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I use the computer a lot, as many of you probably do too. We all know that we need to exercise our bodies to stay healthy, but what about our eyes?

I found this cool site that offers a lot of tips to exercise your eyes, and possibly improve your eyesight. My daughter, at not yet 3, is already wearing glasses, but I wonder if trying eye yoga might help her out.

Here are some quick exercises you can try before you even go read the site:

1. When you’re using the computer, make an effort to blink more often. Staring at the computer is a strain on the eyes.

2. Gently close your eyes and roll the eyeballs around for about 60 seconds.

3. Squeeze your eyes shut for about 5 seconds, then open them. Do this exercise several times in a row.

Feel better yet?

Want to build your dream home business? Here are some tools.

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Are you a work-at-home parent? Even if you’re a home-based entrepreneur without children, this resource list is gold.

The list includes 100 resources, from articles to blogs (mine is included…very nice), to networks and miscellaneous information. Everything’s online, so there’s no need to run to the library.

Even if you don’t have time right now, just go to The Bootstrapper’s site and bookmark the WAHM’s Toolbox. This is a list you don’t want to ignore.

Writing is hard work. Play hooky with WildGames

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Running your own business is hard work. Sometimes you just want to play hooky, right? As long as you do it in moderation, goofing off is obviously a good thing.

Besides watching TV, my favorite pastime is playing online video games. I would go to an arcade, but I don’t have as much time as I did when I was a kid. So now I play online games.

I used to play video games that have a timed free trial, so I would be playing happily for about an hour before it timed out. Then you have to buy the game, or just forget about it. Major bummer.

But then I stumbled across WildGames, and I’ve been hooked ever since. With WildGames each online video game comes with a free trial that lasts for about 24 hours (let’s hope you don’t goof of that long). Most of the online games allow you to play at least two times for free, as long as you don’t remain idle for more than 20 minutes.

Here’s what I do. I choose one of the hundreds of exciting online games and make sure I have a block of time to entertain myself. I play and play till my heart’s content. And if I want to check email or whatever, I do that too, making sure not to be away from the game for longer than 20 minutes. I might just unpause it for a second and get back to my email or article.

When I’m done for the day, I play again at a later date when I’m ready. If, after having really given the game a good try, I decide to buy it, I know that I must really want it. It’s the best way to try before you buy.

But if you never want to buy a particular online game, no problem. You can still play that fascinating game until you beat it. WildGames has a cool online quarters feature. Each game takes a certain number of virtual quarters, from 1 to 4. So after your free trials have ended, just buy some virtual tokens and play a few more times.

This beats buying a $20 game only to beat it after 4 plays. If you beat it that fast you could pay just $4 instead. The beauty of it is you can use tokens to play any game whose free sessions are ended. I usually buy a $10 pack, which gives me 40 tokens.

Okay, if you’re convinced, let me direct you to the cool logo in the sidebar to the right (the one that reads “WildGames.” They just launched an affiliate program, and I bet I was their first affiliate (maybe not, but as soon as I got the email I signed up). If you decide to just play a lot of the games for free, but you later decide to buy some tokens or buy a game, please come back to Crayon Writer and click on the logo here. (While you’re at it, take a look at all of the other items in the sidebar.)

And let me tell you a trick to get the $10 pack. When you go to the signup page for the WildCoins, it’ll take you the ordering page for the monthly plan at $20. Click the “back” button on the page, and it’ll offer the $9.99 or $12.99 pack.

My favorite games are the Diner’s Dash games, Cake Mania, and other casual adventure type games. They also have RPGs, action, kids, and more.

Check it out! Just don’t play too long.

If you’ve played any online games, what are your favorites?

Getting started as a freelance writer: Books to read

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Years ago I realized I was a good writer. I would say it started in elementary school when my teachers always told me how creative I was. In college, I helped friends edit their papers, and even though my degree was in biology, my first job after college was as an assistant editor.

So it makes sense that I’m pursuing a writing career.

More recently, I’ve figured out that I prefer writing for businesses. I write website content, newsletters, press releases, sales letters, correspondence, brochures, and more. Basically, I’m a freelance commercial writer.

A new freelance writer asked me to recommend some books that helped me get started. There are two that I found particularly useful for commercial writing, and they’re both by the same author.

Peter Bowerman’s books include The Well-Fed Writer and Back for Seconds. The best thing about his books is that they give explicit instructions for building your commercial writing business. It’s not a bunch of, “Look how great I am!”

Peter’s first book, The Well-Fed Writer, is very specific but primarily based on the way Peter built his business. It’s great for learning about an effective business model. When I followed his directions, I definitely made progress.

His second book, Back for Seconds, includes lots of examples from other writers’ experiences. You’ll learn from people from all walks of life who are running their own commercial writing businesses.I also appreciate that Peter responds to his email messages even though he’s clearly very busy. He has a new book coming out soon, and I’ll be sure to let you know what I think of it.

In the meantime, if you’re serious about a freelance writing career, grab these books and get to work. I pick them up whenever I need a boost.